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tv   The Stream  Al Jazeera  March 15, 2014 2:30am-3:01am EDT

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>> hi, i'm lisa fletcher, and you're in "the stream." man bossy or b bossy? it's time to hear what girls think, we talked to teens to find out how they define leadership and empowerment. my cohost, rajahad ali, is here,
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and he's bringing in the feedback. we have heard the saying, sticks and stones may break your bones...and is now can words really be damaging, particularly for girls. >> we might see a female president in 2016, and there's also man privilege. and bossy makes girls seem week, and: >> alexander makes a good point, and what do you want to be when you grow up in it's a question that we and kids all the time but never expect to hear this. >> i would like to drop out of high school and get a meaningless job that makes me
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feel bad about myself. >> i want to fly under the radar. >> i want to splatter against the glass ceiling. >> i don't have an opinion. >> research shows by middle school, most girls loss confidence, a trend that can continue into adulthood. while most are positive they have what it takes to be a leader, 60% don't, saying that it's easier to be a follower. they can't be leaders, fearing that they will be picked on, laughed at, not liked or called names. ♪ >> sheryl sandberg teamed up with the girl scouts of america and several high-profile women and said this type of name calling discourages girls from being leaders and they want to ban words like bossy. on and off. and critics agree that it's time to think. and they say that banning words
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isn't the answer. proclaiming through hash tags that the key to empowering girls is to urging them to reclaim bossy and be bossy and proud. how do you take the negative power wear from words like bossy and empower girls to be strong voiced and leaders? we're joined by simone marine, the deliver of the girl's institute. and she teaches at the university of colorado. and welcome to both of you and ronda, right now, this bossy campaign is getting a lot of attention from conde rice, and beyonce', and while a lot of people are talking about it, does the idea of banning a word over simplify the challenges to leadership that young women face? >> without a doubt. bossy is just one statement and who we are and what we're all about. and bossy, i keep wondering is
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that a word that we would use with men in and i don't think so. as we look at the attributes to women and doing and saying and the powers that we have, we have to get past the names and who we are as women and the power that thewe have. >> so simone, i think that you and ronda are in agreement on this, and it's more than just a word. what in your view are the things that have the biggest impact on the girl's view of herself and her ability to develop as a leader in. >> i would say the earliest influence on a girl is definitely her family. it has shown that the number-one influence on a girl is in fact her mom, and then i think school is an important influencer, and then far away, the growing presence of the media and a girl's life sends her important messages on why she's valued. >> let's talk about family a little bit. though parents say that they have equal expectations for
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their sons and daughters, when it's looked at closely, a language pattern is different in how they relate to sons and daughters, and talk about that and the effects of that. >> certainly, what you're talking about regarding words is really important. when we tell our little girls, you're such a little princess, we're giving them a message, and what does princess mean? but we tell the boys stronger words, and so we've got to gage that a little bit differently. if we're implying that princess is only to be dealt with and handled gently, then we're not sending a strong message, and we do need to monitor how our words impact young girls and young boys too. >> our community is talking about it:
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sim open, let's go to you with that. exhibiting the same behavior, i'll be confident, and bold and ambitious, and women would be called domineering and shrill and bossy. and talk to us about how these words shape a young woman's sense of empowerment and self. >> they definitely influence her comfort with power itself. at girl leadership institute, the first step in teaching them leadership practices, we team they have skills. and turns out they know how to
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be leaders and the greatest struggle is with the convert of leadership itself, with power itself. so these words set up a very uncomfortable relationship between girls and power. >> simone, any sense of what age a girl's leadership ambitions peak? >> at age 8, between 8 and 10, when we have around 40% of girls aspire to be leaders, and after age 8 that starts to diminish. >> what triggers the downward cycle? >> i think words like bossy influence this. this general value that girls learn, that it is more important that they be attractive, physically attractive, to their peers, to their adults, to teachers, than it is that they be outspoken and strong x they are generally punished when they go off the aggressive line and fall
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into -- and they become aggressive, whereas with boys, they're given a lot more permission to go into that aggressive tendency. >> ronda, do you think that maybe part of the problem and perhaps some of the solution is teaching girls literally how to be a leader? how to express themselves in a very direct way, and not have other women in particular be taken aback by that? because we can talk about boys all day long, but the mature women here, me included, have come across many times in our career, getting as much push back from women as men, and my sense is that women are not taught how to deal directly with other strong women. and roped a. you first. >> i definitely agree with you, in the program that i do training with for leaders in smart girl.org, it's a powerful and multigenerational mentorship program where graduate and
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undergraduate women are teaching girls how to interact and problem solve and how to handle sexual harassment and how to dell with situations like girl bullying. if we don't teach those skills, they don't come naturally. it's something that we need to help them formulate and respond to effectively, like bullying. >> simone, i'm seeing you nod your head. >> a lot of girls, they think that leadership is something that you're born with or you don't. and it can be taught. girl need the opportunities and the opportunity to practice. and these are skills that they can acquire over their lifetime. when they have the opportunity and they get the practice, you see the transformation happen. >> well, let's see great examples of female leadership:
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www.smartgirl.org. >> simone, the girl leadership institute, one the interesting things that you're doing is you are introducing words to these young women to introduce, bravery and courage, and talk about the thought process behind that. >> yeah, i think we really want to give girls a vocabulary, and we not only work with girls, but we work with their families and their teachers and build a common vocabulary so girls can learn. even the word assertive, most girls don't know the word assertive. they know aggressive and passive, and we don't know how
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to walk the middle ground if they don't know the word for it. >> an actress and business leader, they have numerous ambitions, but is being called bossy one of them? get ready to meet amazing young women here to inspire. >> it's motivating others to do that, which they continue do on their own, and it's showing the way. >> to be a leader, you can be an introvert. and you don't necessarily have to be the stereotype of bossy to get your ideas across. >> if someone tries to belittle you and make you feel bad, you don't care about that. >> scared as hell... >> as american troops prepare to leave afghanistan get a first hand look at what life is really like under the taliban. >> we're going to be taken to a place, where they're going to make plans for an attack. >> the only thing i know is, that they say they're not going to withdraw. >> then, immediately after, an america tonight special edition for more inside
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and analysis. >> why did you decide to go... >> it's extremly important for the western audience to know why these people keep on fighting... ...it's so seldom you get that access to the other side. >> faultlines: on the front lines with the taliban then an america tonight: special edition, only on al jazeera america
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>> are you listening to the sound of my voice, to the word that i'm saying, to the story i'm telling? listen up. >> welcome back, this video was created by girl be heard, an organization that works to empower young women to be brave, confident leaders. we're lucky to be joined by several young women who fit that description.
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angela is, is an activist. donia nasir hopes to one day run for office, and jenika, a young writer, passionate about having positive representations of young women in media. monica, we heard that girls started to lose confidence in middle school, and what was different for you that put you on the path to leadership. >> i think it's because i started theater in middle school, and i was actually very shy, but when i started theater, that's what taught me to be more confident. and when i became aware of the issues that women and girls face, that's when i got involved in girl be heard and got it use theater to empower others. >> the community has been tweeting in, lisa: lisa. whether or not words like bossy
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can be used by millennials... angela, i want to get to you in this conversation. dish words like bossy, can they be reclaimed by women as a sense of empowerment, or can we do away with them because it's celebrating obnoxious behavior? >> right, so i definitely think there has been a lot of debate on whether or not bossy should be embraced or be done away with completely.
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and that depends on the connotations. what they're doing right now is trying it get rid of the negative connotation with the word. perhaps if women embraced it with a positive connotation, like on twitter, being more assertive and empowered, that's certainly a great way to approach the word, bossy. >> angela, being a young leader like you are, does it rub off on your friends. >> i think that it definitely does. i'm in college now, and i'm in a program where a lot of my friends are international students, and i know that the culture in america is very different than the culture in europe. for instance voluntarism is a lot more emphasized in my culture and i got involved in the things that i enjoy doing. i think that who you surround yourself with influences your behavior. >> jenika, being out there on these issues, do you find that people come around to see things from your world view?
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you see yourself a certain way, you act a certain way and present yourself a certain way to your peers, and do they come around and start seeing you the way you see yourself? >> most definitely, and that's why it's so important to help young girls reclaim the word, bossy. i think that young girls like nicki minaj and beyonce', in the campaign video, who are saying, i'm not bossy, i'm the boss, and the way that you portray yourself definitely has an affect on the way that others particular. >> the firms with women on their boards have 60% higher returns, and 66% more on investor capital and equity. women fundamentally think differently than men, and isn't that evidence enough that we should be more like our authentic selves and try to be less than what men represent in the workplace?
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>> i think that you're right on, the word authentic is important. and as we talk about this word, bossy, it doesn't matter. it's not a national debate. it really is about how you personally feel about the word. and it goes back to that personal level. i do think leadership is about taking that ownership of what we present as an authentic human being, not necessarily male or female. and i think that we have a lot to present, so females tend to be socialized in a way that causes us to be connective. we're relationship based, as opposed to how men are socialized. and i think that's a big impact on how we operate as bosses, if you will. >> well, our community has some push back. back:
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i want to get you in the conversation, and what's your secret sauce of awesome. what are the special ingredients that you and the other leaders that we have on the show, that give you the leg up, the privileges that you had that made you into a young, empowered female leader? >> honestly, i think that it's really an inspiration that gets you involved in the movement. and i have to say that my mom has been my inspiration from day one. she has empowered me and allowed me to embrace my voice, and people did call me bossy and assertive, and i didn't use it until i could use it to help other women like my mom, and help women be minimally empowered and run for office and represent us so we could have an active part in government.
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and without that inspiration and that spark and fire, i wouldn't be here today. >> monica, you were the president of a skateboard club. talk a little bit about an encounter that you called when you were called bossy. >> so i was president of stoked plus my senior year, where we make skateboards and volunteer, and i was leading a meeting one day in a room. and the room that i was meeting in, the teacher was still in it, and the members were kind of being rowdy and it was near the weekend, and i was like, come on, guys, let's go, we're going to be done soon, and as i'm walking out after the meeting was over, the teacher in that room, he goes to me, you know, you're kind of bossy, in a very negative taupe, and without missing a beat, i replied, well, if i was a guy, you wouldn't have said that. and i just walked out. >> and how did he respond when you said that? >> his mouth kind of dropped open but i didn't see the rest of his reaction because i walked
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away. >> simone, is this a good way for young women to go about this? to push back when it happens. >> i think it's important to speak out. one of the things that we teach at girl's leadership institute for girls to be aware of their thoughts and their feelings and accept them and what's the right way to communicate them. if they don't start speaking up when they're in elementary school and high school, it's going to be really hard when they're in their 20s and in the workforce. definitely asking for something as simple as a glass of water or telling somebody when you disagree with them, speaking up along the way is critical michael says: and jenika, i know you're trying to do just that. you were cast in the color purple in your school, and you work with journalists and
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storytellers, and talk with us about your vision to use media for a balanced representation of women. >> definitely, right now i'm working on an ongoing series called black women create. and i'm interviewing different women in leadership positions behind the scenes in the film and television industry, so the directors and producers and writers, and it's so important because it lets young girls know that in order to change their representation, you have to have women behind the scenes, and you can change the direction. >> you can call them trailblazers, from boardrooms to the halls of congress. how are women today paving the way for the next generation. >> fears and asking for help are the two most powerful guides i can offer to young women. >> when we talk about fostering
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leadership in girls, not just girls, but kids of all genders, it's important that we frame it in terms of fostering confidence. that way, we celebrate and encourage kids who may have naturally loud voices and leadership skills. >> twenty five years ago, pan am flight 103 exploded in the skys above lockerbie. only one man was convicted of the attack >> the major difficulty for the prosecution, that there was no evidence... >> now a three year al jazeera investigation, reveals a very different story about who was responsible >> they refuse to look into this... >> so many people at such a high level had a stake in al megrahi's guilt. lockerbie: what really happened? on al jazeera america
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>> this is the real deal man... >> the house of representatives to the first women speaker. the lady from pelosi. >> in 2007, nancy pelosi became the first elected speaker of the
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house, and since then, we have seen in the upper chamber, a record 20 female senators. simone, it's so important that women are rising in these visible positions of leadership. and how important is it for those women to be actively them? >> it's very important. and whether we know we're mentoring or not, girls are watching and we need to show girls that we care more about pleasing others and fitting in and all of us having the opportunity to role model for girls, whether we're in the positions of leadership, or external leadership or not >> so ronda, i consider myself one of the fortunate ones. great parents, and a great male role model in my life, my father at a young age taught me that i could take on my challenge, and it was like taking that out of my brain. i wasn't focused on what i couldn't do, but what i could do, and all things were
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possible. i'm wondering how big of a role and how important of a role do you think men and boys play in this conversation for women and girls? >> well, i appreciate the question, because i certainly think in the program that i do the training for smart-girl.org, it's not only when girls, but guys too. we need to be teaching both. and we do that through mentorship. positive and empowered men and women are empowered because of what they have in their lives, and mentallership is a powerful piece, whether it's your family or the older generation, or whoever comes into your life that's positive. that's where we want to go. >> ronda and lisa, 49% of the population tweeted in:
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donnia, i'm going to go to you. i'm the 49% representing boys and cooties. and how can boys help empower women, and mutual empowerment? >> i think it's important to recognize that a lot of women have people standing on their shoulders, and they stand on the holds of men, and the importance of allies is significant, and we need men in the move. because we can't achieve gender equality and the empowerment girls and women without boys and men supporting us along the way, and you can't achieve gender equity unless you have boys around you who are agreeing with you and understanding that things need to change. >> angela. weigh in on the same. >> just having the opportunity for men to listen to women and understand their needs is really important to a woman's life. not just because the women seem
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to have been rather uneven in the past several decades, and since then, it has been short compared to a very long line of patriarchal societies. so i think that having men help women in this movement is just very important overall.
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